Autism CanTech! Program Video

Autism CanTech! is a Canada-wide program aimed at empowering Autistic youth to gain long-term, meaningful roles in the digital workforce and help employers create inclusive workplaces.

Following employability training, technical skills training, and a paid work integrated learning experience for participants, the program looks to the Social Model of Disability, to affect change by training employers and modifying the work environments for participants.

The program also provides additional supports for both participants and employer-partners alike, through Career Coaches, assistive technology known as RoboCoach (developed by Technology North), and an Employment Transition Coordinator to help participants find the right work environment for them.

Learn more in the video below.


Transcript for this video:

[Brytani McLeod] My name is Brytani McLeod and I am a career coach with the Autism CanTech! program here at Norquest.

I think a lot of Autistic traits are misunderstood. The tone being that it’s not necessarily positive.

Personally, I’ve always been neurodivergent and it’s actually been a very positive part of my life, and I really celebrate that part of me.

Autistic individuals have a gift. They’re so eager and they come with a wealth of knowledge.

But the barriers to employment are sometimes the innate parts of Autism. You know, things like eye contact in an interview are some things that can determine if somebody will get a job, and if that individual is somebody who does not often make eye contact employers can sometimes really miss out on some amazing talent.

I think that what’s unique about Autism CanTech! is that we really are tackling those barriers.

[Jenna Gauthier] The Autism CanTech! program is a six-month program aimed at getting Autistic youth between the ages of 18 to 30 employed in the digital economy.

Our program was designed in consultation with Autistic individuals, so we’re designed to be accessible for Autistic individuals.

And then we also have this really cool assistive technology to support them, both in the classroom and on the work experience. Called Robo Coach.

[Ling Huang] We developed Robo Coach to remove the barrier of verbal communication, attention disorder and it will collect work data to satisfy the employers.

I have a son with Autism. People like my son they can do the work very well, they have the skill. They just do not feel confident enough.

With the Robo Coach they feel very confident in the work they are doing. They feel like they are in control. And once they feel the are in control, they can handle the work, they become more confident.

Once they become more confident, they are more engaged and they are more productive, more happy.

[Jenna Gauthier] Participants, they check in with me on Robo Coach every day. I use it for task management as well as a direct chat feature that I can connect with the participants and the employers.

Part of my role is to help set up the work experience help them to prepare, go through that interview process. I love to help people see their strengths. I love to help people see how to be themselves. And thrive, and also to help them build some confidence.

Employers and employer partners can learn about how to successfully hire and employ these amazing individuals.

So if somebody wants to join Autism CanTech! it’s really easy. You just go to our website. Click the Apply Now button. You fill out a form and then you chat with me or a colleague. it’s not a job interview. My goal is to get to know them, and I want them to get to know our program so that I can make sure that we’re setting them up for success.

[Ling Huang] For the last two years, four people working in our office, none of them actually will miss work for one day. They are the most stable workforce in the world.

[Jenna Gauthier] I love to help people see their strengths. I love to help people see, look

at what you’ve done, look at what you can do. Look at what you do already, just naturally for being who you are. Because they don’t have to pretend to be somebody different.

I’ve walked that journey and I understand how that feels. It’s really beautiful.